What Is Media? Really, Do You Know?

International Politics

Do you really know what media is, or how it works? Do you know media’s politics?

Here is my two cents. I have actually studied media ethics, and even got some acclaim, when I studied journalism at the well-known Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. I’d like to share my observations with you.

Media — like New York Times, CNN, Fox, BBC, Times of India, etc. — do not work for us the ordinary people. They work for, and owned by, the 1%. Murdoch, Ambani, or Disney. Or, by special interests. And they are almost always dictated by the policies of the corporations that advertise in them. Media can never go against the will of their owners, or advertisers. Outside of the small world of alternative, not-for-profit media, there is no such thing as free press.

American media, Indian media, or British media — are not free.

How do big media treat us, or rather, use us? We the 99% are their market to sell their news, and make maximum profit, and political power. News is not neutral, objective, or balanced. In fact, news is not even news. It’s an item to sell on this market, just like a car, potato chips, pizza, or say, guns or grenades. Or, private prisons. You add your list of items to buy, sell, and make profit from.

Media houses and corporations have no reason to work for us, even though there are many dedicated, honest, often risk-taking journalists working for them. But these journalists do not decide what news is, or how it is printed, aired, or broadcast. It’s the owners and their fat-cat editors who decide it. They decide what is news, and what is not. They decide how to twist and manipulate news. They decide what is first-page news, or to be aired first. They decide who is an expert, and who is not. They decide which issue to prioritize, and which issue to exclude or undermine. And we follow them, often blindly, even though privately many of us talk about how dishonest media channels are, or joke about a newspaper’s self-professed honesty.

Big media make Trump, Obama, Clinton, Blair, Queen Elizabeth, the British princes, or India’s Modi. Basically, big media always give coverage to the big parties, and their big-named leaders, who are often corrupt and extremely rich, in varying degrees. Personally corrupt, or politically corrupt. Or, as in case of Trump, both.

Leaders like Bernie Sanders are always undermined by big media: we the people do not get to hear their POV. Big media make Iraq war, Kashmir war, North Korean war…or many other wars American powers have always been involved with — for ages. Big media demonize Cuba, Palestine, Vietnam, or using a most recent example, undocumented immigrants. Big media create friends and enemies, angels or villains. Media make us forget, with their propaganda, that before Saddam Hussain was demonized, the U.S. government loved him, and gave him national honors when he visited this country.

No Lies Radio

How do media do it? They do it by journalism of inclusion (i.e., what gets in), and they do it by what I call “Journalism of Exclusion.” That is, what gets out. That is, not covering, de-prioritizing, or lying or gravely distorting about news that matter to us. Like, a union strike: why do workers strike? What are the circumstances, when workers brave the harsh winter, lack of pay, lack of health care, lack of family life, and lack of a normal life? How much does the company’s CEO make, and how much do the workers make? Why would the rich CEO and his people cut benefits and wages for the workers? Think of the ongoing Charter-Spectrum strike here in New York. The workers are striking for nine months already! Where is the media coverage?

Big media let big banks and Wall Street CEO’s off the hook, and legitimize government bailouts of the extreme rich. Our pension cut is not important news for them, and police killings of the poor is trivial news. They don’t report clearly how much the cricket players, baseball or golf players make, or film stars make, and do not report their tax evasions. They do not tell us how toxic junk foods or many prescription drugs are. Most people have no idea what they eating, drinking, or using as medications.

Big media, corporate media perpetuate an impression that this is a functioning democracy, that this is the best working system in the world, and that there are no other alternatives. It’s a political game, and it’s also a game of monopoly.

Most people do not understand their politics, or their game of profit.

I hope you use your real-life experience and intelligence to observe and analyze media.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Acknowledgement:

Cartoon from International Politics, and No Lies Radio. Used for one-time, not-for-profit purpose.

So, Media and Propaganda? Who Cares?

IMG_1014“Audiences of mass media do not exist a priori. They are actively constructed through careful programming decisions and marketing strategies, as well as transnational flows of information, capital, and commodities, and in some cases, the agendas of the nation-state.” (Purnima Mankekar, 1999).

That’s mass media today, as written by an Indian woman scholar. But average response to her observation will be like as follows.

Like, (1) “Who cares?” Or, like, (2) “What are you talking about?” Or, (3) “Those lefty intellectuals!” Or, (4) “What’s the big deal? Doesn’t everybody do it?” Or, (5) “Well, they’re doing business too, just like everyone else!”

How can you talk substance to a vast majority of dumbed-down people — people who not understand the objective voice of reason? People who do not know the difference between journalism and propaganda?

Media propaganda has reached an unbelievable, abysmal low. Both in USA and in India. New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox, etc. here in America. And their counterpart media in India. All these media are either directly owned or totally subsidized by corporate businesses. GE, Disney, Exxon, Wal-Mart, Reliance, Ambani, Tata. Very few people make the connection.

They have actively silenced any voice of dissent, and killed any possible debate. But most people do not understand this game. The 1% have successfully created an illusion that this is freedom, free thinking, and democracy.

USA’s illegal war, bombing and killing of innocent people in a faraway land are now completely legitimized. Economic terror, religious violence, hatred and bigotry of Gandhi murderers are now totally acceptable.

Nobody even blinks to wonder how is it possible that in a so-called “Land of the Free,” 25% of world’s prisoners are rotting in U.S. jails. Nobody pauses for a second to question how the U.S. media are doing 24/7 propaganda for Trump’s illegal bombing in Syria.

In a two-party system, both parties are now wings of the 1%. Republicans and Democrats in USA. BJP and Congress in India.

Media is their propaganda machine.

Think. Like, what else can I say?

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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